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Tulane Doctors ~ Heart & Vascular Institute ~ Stroke

Stroke (Cerebrovascular Accident, CVA)

A Stroke (or Brain Attack) is the name for an interruption in the blood flow in the Brain.


The Symptoms of a Stroke are related to which portion of the Brain has become damaged as a result of the interruption in blood flow. The Symptoms can occur suddenly or over a few days. Often Headache is the first symptom.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Change in alertness (including sleepiness, unconsciousness, and coma)
  • Changes in hearing
  • Changes in taste
  • Clumsiness
  • Confusion or loss of memory
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty writing or reading
  • Dizziness or abnormal sensation of movement (vertigo)
  • Lack of control over the bladder or bowels
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle weakness in the face, arm, or leg (usually just one side)
  • Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
  • Personality, mood, or emotional changes
  • Problems with eyesight, including decreased vision, double vision, or total loss of vision
  • Sensation changes that affect touch and the ability to feel pain, pressure, different temperatures, or other stimuli
  • Trouble speaking or understanding others who are speaking
  • Trouble walking

A stroke occurs when blood flow to a specific part of the brain becomes interrupted due to a blockage or a breakage. If blood flow is stopped for longer than a dozen seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage